We-e-ellll, that may be a wee bit of an exaggeration, but he is admirably prolific. And he doesn't merely crank out information, he writes books that enlighten, inspire, entertain, and educate. Consistently. His output amazes me.
And not only does he consistently publish excellent non-fiction, he's a poet, too.
"I'll do the 'expert on the Fathers of the Church' thing on Monday, knock off an exploration of ancient Christian symbols on Wednesday, and come Friday I'll pen a charming collection of essays on family life. Saturday? A villanelle, I think."
Except he would never say any of that stuff because he's incredibly humble.
Terms and Conditions: Assorted Poems, 1985-2014, Mike's recently published collection, is a treat. Formal forms abound (the title poem is a villanelle, the opening is "Sonnet in Spray Paint") but there is nothing stuffily distant about the work in any way. The content invites us to feast on the meat and wine of family, of spousal love (his poems to and for his wife are especially beautiful), faith and existence, and the everyday business of life, work, and poetry.*
I'm struggling about which poem to highlight, so I think I'll just share a few of my favorite lines:
from "The Poem of the Act of the Mind:"
Nearness is a thing the mind decrees
belying all statistics and the facts.
It scans the far horizons, and it sees
two scattered stars and instantly contracts
a billion miles to make a lion's mane.
You are my map, you make a way
I could not know unless you stay.
from "To Be, or Not":
I toil and spin to seem to have a heart
half-worth your love. To seem is twice the art.
And if you click over to Dappled Things, you can read "Telecommunications."
I'd better stop there or I'll want to quote the whole book and Mike will have to sue me for copyright infringement. Trust me. You want this book.
Terms and Conditions is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or you can order it through your local indie bookstore.
Be sure to check out the Poetry Friday round up at Check It Out.